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Ian Thorpe Enters Rehab for Alcoholism and Depression

Ian ThorpeIan Thorpe has just entered rehab, seeking help for his alcoholism and depression. The 31-year-old Australian has been one of the most successful swimmers of all time, with five Olympic gold and two silver medals. He has also dominated in other important swimming events, including six gold medals in a single World Championship. Major success has alluded Ian in the last couple of years though, after he failed to qualify for the 2012 Olympics.

Ian Thorpe’s Battle with Alcoholism and Depression

Ian Thorpe first mentioned his problems with depression and alcohol abuse in his autobiography This Is Me (2012). In this candid and revealing book, he admitted that there were times when he came close to suicide because of his mental pain. It appears that his situation has deteriorated recently though. It is not clear exactly what happened, but his neighbours were so concerned that they called the police. The police took Ian to hospital, and he has since been transferred to a rehab facility. It sounds like he was in a great deal of distress, but he is hopefully getting the help he needs now.

The Dangers of Self-Medication

In his 2012 autobiography, Thorpe admitted that he used alcohol as a means to treat his symptoms of depression. This type of self-medication can appear to ease the mental pain in the beginning, but over the long-term it actually makes things much worse. This is because alcohol belongs to a family of drugs known as depressants. It works by ‘depressing’ the central nervous system, so it can actually make the symptoms of depression much worse. Not only is alcohol capable of exacerbating the symptoms of depression, it can actually cause it to occur in the first place. Alcohol-induced depression is very common among those abusing this substance.

Once alcohol is used to self-medicate depression, individuals can easily slip into a vicious cycle that drives them into addiction. The person drinks alcohol to ease their symptoms, but it actually worsens their condition, so he or she needs to drink even more. This is a very dangerous downward spiral as it can easily lead to suicide unless the person is able to get help.

Ian Thorpe almost certainly understands that alcohol is worsening his symptoms of depression, but it can be a very difficult pattern to break. The problem is even if self-medication is a terrible way to deal with depression, it may have been the only coping mechanism he had access to. Mental health professionals struggle to provide treatment to those abusing alcohol because it interferes with the effectiveness of antidepressants (it can be very dangerous to mix the two) – a person trapped in addiction is unlikely to benefit much from therapy.

Can Ian Thorpe Escape his Addiction Problems?

It is obvious that Ian Thorpe is dealing with a dual diagnosis involving depression and alcohol addiction. It is important to deal with both of these conditions together as failure to treat one will prevent recovery from the other. Ian needs to be helped to bring his symptoms of depression under control so that he no longer feels the need to turn to alcohol for relief. There are many effective treatments available, and there are will almost certainly be options suitable for Ian.  

It is very sad to hear that Ian Thorpe has suffered so badly from depression that he considered suicide. He has been an inspiration to so many people, and he has achieved so many great things. Hopefully, this time in rehab will allow him to regain control of his life so he can inspire people in new ways.

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